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True Story of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A man named

Bob May, depressed and brokenhearted, stared out his drafty

apartment window into the chilling December


His 4-year-old daughter Barbara sat on his lap

quietly sobbing. Bob's wife, Evelyn, was dying of cancer.

Little Barbara couldn't understand why her mommy could never

come home. Barbara looked up into her dad's eyes and asked,

"Why isn't Mommy just like everybody else's Mommy?" Bob's

jaw tightened and his eyes welled with tears. Her question

brought waves of grief, but also of anger. It had been the

story of Bob's life. Life always had to be different for


Small when he was a kid, Bob was often bullied

by other boys. He was too little at the time to compete in

sports. He was often called names he'd rather not remember.

From childhood, Bob was different and never seemed to fit

in. Bob did complete college, married his loving wife and

was grateful to get his job as a copywriter at Montgomery

Ward during the Great Depression. Then he was blessed with

his little girl. But it was all short-lived. Evelyn's bout

with cancer stripped them of all their savings and now Bob

and his daughter were forced to live in a two-room apartment

in the Chicago slums. Evelyn died just days before Christmas

in 1938.

Bob struggled to give hope to his child, for

whom he couldn't even afford to buy a Christmas gift. But if

he couldn't buy a gift, he was determined to make one - a

storybook! Bob had created an animal character in his own

mind and told the animal's story to little Barbara to give

her comfort and hope. Again and again Bob told the story,

embellishing it more with each telling. Who was the

character? What was the story all about? The story Bob May

created was his own autobiography in fable form. The

character he created was a misfit outcast like he was. The

name of the character? A little reindeer named Rudolph, with

a big shiny nose. Bob finished the book just in time to give

it to his little girl on Christmas Day. But the story

doesn't end there.


general manager of Montgomery Ward caught wind of the little

storybook and offered Bob May a nominal fee to purchase the

rights to print the book. Wards went on to

print, “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed

Reindeer” and

distribute it to children visiting Santa Claus in their

stores. By 1946 Wards had printed and distributed more than

six million copies of Rudolph. That same year, a major

publisher wanted to purchase the rights from Wards to print

an updated version of the book.

In an unprecedented

gesture of kindness, the CEO of Wards returned all rights

back to Bob May. The book became a best seller. Many toy and

marketing deals followed and Bob May, now remarried with a

growing family, became wealthy from the story he created to

comfort his grieving daughter. But the story doesn't end

there either.


brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, made a song adaptation to

Rudolph. Though the song was turned down by such popular

vocalists as Bing Crosby and DinahShore , it was recorded by

the singing cowboy, Gene Autry. "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed

Reindeer" was released in 1949 and became a phenomenal

success, selling more records than any other Christmas song,

with the exception of "White Christmas."

The gift of love that Bob May

created for his daughter so long ago kept on returning back

to bless him again and again. And Bob May learned the

lesson, just like his dear friend Rudolph, that being

different isn't so bad. In fact, being different can be a


Enjoy life... it has an expiration date!

Not ALL snowpeople are MEN!!
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